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The Life She Was Given Audiobook

The Life She Was Given

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Publisher's Summary

From acclaimed author Ellen Marie Wiseman comes a vivid, daring novel about the devastating power of family secrets - beginning in the poignant, lurid world of a Depression-era traveling circus and coming full circle in the transformative 1950s.

On a summer evening in 1931, Lilly Blackwood glimpses circus lights from the grimy window of her attic bedroom. Lilly isn't allowed to explore the meadows around Blackwood Manor. She's never even ventured beyond her narrow room. Momma insists it's for Lilly's own protection, that people would be afraid if they saw her. But on this unforgettable night, Lilly is taken outside for the first time - and sold to the circus sideshow.

More than two decades later, 19-year-old Julia Blackwood has inherited her parents' estate and horse farm. For Julia, home was an unhappy place full of strict rules and forbidden rooms, and she hopes that returning might erase those painful memories. Instead, she becomes immersed in a mystery involving a hidden attic room and photos of circus scenes featuring a striking young girl.

At first The Barlow Brothers' Circus is just another prison for Lilly. But in this ragtag, sometimes brutal world, Lilly discovers strength, friendship, and a rare affinity for animals. Soon, thanks to elephants Pepper and JoJo and their handler, Cole, Lilly is no longer a sideshow spectacle but the circus' biggest attraction...until tragedy and cruelty collide.

It will fall to Julia to learn the truth about Lilly's fate and her family's shocking betrayal and find a way to make Blackwood Manor into a place of healing at last. Moving between Julia's and Lilly's stories, Ellen Marie Wiseman portrays two extraordinary, very different women in a novel that, while tender and heartbreaking, offers moments of joy and indomitable hope.

©2017 Ellen Marie Wiseman (P)2017 Recorded Books

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (216 )
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4.4 (198 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Emily 08-08-17
    Emily 08-08-17 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you're sensitive to animal cruelty don't listen"

    I suppose if this author wanted me to feel something, the goal was achieved. The book is nothing but heartbreak after brutal heartbreak.

    At the end they try to smooth it over with flowers and foals but it's not successful. A good book is one that you can read over and over again. This is a book that makes you want to throw your phone at the wall.

    I would not recommend this to any one.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randi shelton 07-29-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Another gripping story"

    This is a sad but gripping story about a little girl who is sold to a circus by her cruel vicious mother and the life she lead there. Nine-year-old Lily is taken from her attic room where she has been held prissoner by her parents and sold to the circus because she's a "monstor" according to her mother. Lily was born with albinism in the 1920s. In the circus, she's put in the "freak" show as one of the star attractions. She suffers horrible abuse but has great strength of character and survives in spite of it all. She befriends Pepper, an elephant and her handler Cole, whom she later marries. Lily performs with Pepper in the big top until tragedy occurrs, and she's forced out of the circus life she's come to love.

    This is also the story of Julia Blackwood, who runs away from the manor on the day her father dies. Living a hard life on the streets, she's tracked down by a private investigator hired by her mother's attorney. She's given a letter informing her of her mother's death, and Julia is the new owner of Blackwood Manor. On her return, she discovers her father's old journal where she reads about the sister she never knew she had. Eventually Julia learns the truth and that things are not always as they seem. The story of her past is not what she believes it to be. She must come to grips with this and create a new life for herself where she will find love and acceptance. This is a story that will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sloopyjo 10-09-17
    Sloopyjo 10-09-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Trigger Alert"

    A gripping story, but readers beware, a main character (female) lives a long life riddled with trauma from birth to death - often described in detail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra S 10-04-17
    Sandra S 10-04-17 Member Since 2017
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    "wonderful, one I will remember"

    I absolutely adored it. Didn't want it to end. Historical fiction at its best!!! Ellen Marie Wiseman is a genius author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracey 09-24-17
    Tracey 09-24-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Fantastically Woven Story"
    If you could sum up The Life She Was Given in three words, what would they be?

    Couldn't stop listening!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Life She Was Given?

    The ending.


    Which character – as performed by Lori Gardner – was your favorite?

    Julia and Lilly were both strong characters, but Julia was oddly my favorite because she over came obstacles of her upbringing to transform into a strong, generous, caring hero.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Life She Was Given and why?

    Lilly's strange and tragic life made for a most memorable character.


    Any additional comments?

    This story is amazing. It was a story woven fantastically between the two main characters and actually kept me guessing the whole time. I could not stop listening. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me think. It was a truly heart felt story that had me caught up in it until the very end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cassandra vollenberg APO, AE United States 09-06-17
    cassandra vollenberg APO, AE United States 09-06-17 Member Since 2017
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    "very good book"

    it was Avery good book but I had little trouble with the animal cruelty in it. there wasn't very much but it was there. However, it was what was done in the circus back then so it is not blatant or unnecessary. it is part of the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Freida Roberts 09-02-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Shocked and saddened by the outcome of Lilly's life."

    Not exactly a "and they lived happily ever after" fairy tale ending. But the book depicts how easily "little lies" turn into mountains. I would love to see a sequel to this book in which Julia finds her father.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosa Maria Rodriguez 08-30-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Horrible writing!"

    This was so difficult to listen to because it was so bad. It was like a 13-year old wrote it. There's little attempt to actually create the world within the book. The narration was so boring. There was no attempt to even bring the characters to life. Such a waste of money :/

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JESSICA BAYES 08-26-17
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    "Fantastic Read"

    I felt like it was well written and that the story line we interesting, I enjoyed

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita L. Gray 08-23-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "that was awful!"

    the narration was fine.

    the story lacked, the writing sophomoric. 1,000 ways this idea could have been done well. No literary merit. It was dumb.

    Don't be fooled!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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